The Government of Ontario will be targeting mine ventilation hazards with a safety inspection blitz in the months of October and November. You can read the official announcement made this week on the Ontario Ministry of Labour website here. This Initiative is all part of a strategy that Ontario launched back in 2008 called “Safe at Work Ontario”.
These safety blitz’s are very important to workplace safety. From 2005 to 2009 there were 176 work deaths related to respiratory illnesses in the mining industry. Clearly the Government of Ontario put the Safe at Work Ontario program in place to help get this number down to zero.
What are They Looking For?
- – Mines with large fleets of diesel equipment operating in the underground environment
- – Recently reopened or new mines operating diesel equipment
- – Mines where previous ventilation concerns were observed, and
- – Mines with a poor health and safety compliance history.
- – Ventilation systems used to deliver fresh air to underground mines, and
- – Diesel equipment used for underground transportation of workers and materials and blasting of rock.
Preparing for a Blitz
Organizations can prepare for a blitz by implementing modern safety techniques and performing their own inspections on a regular basis before OSHA or the Ministry of Labour comes on site. It is easy to draw comparisons to accounting practices and preparing for an accounting audit by the government. Knowing that there may be an audit at any time forces organizations to have their financial information in tip top shape at all times. Safety data should be treated in the exact same way. The current blitz focuses on ventilation systems for mines that run a lot of diesel equipment. Having monthly safety inspections done internally with a dashboard that rolls up to the CEO or Director of Safety showing missed inspections for instance can make the preparation for an external audit a breeze.